The PS3 is also compatible with a wide array of file formats which means you can play almost any media file – picture, video or music – without a problem. Popular DivX and Xvid video formats are supported out of the box so playing your digital movie collection is pretty straight forward.

And you can do that in two ways - you can copy them to a USB storage device and plug it in, or you can stream them from your PC over your home network either wirelessly or via Ethernet.

All media can be accessed in this way, which means if you've got a lot of photos, music and videos on your computer, you can view them on your PS3 as though they were stored locally.

Gaming

As a gaming device, the PS3 is arguably slightly more powerful than the Xbox 360. So technically, in terms of graphical fidelity, the PS3 is as good as they come.

However, three year's into its life cycle, the PS3 still lags far behind the Xbox 360 as a gaming device, and that's because of the games available.

The Xbox 360 launched over a year before the PS3, and so was able to build up a large catalogue of games before the PS3 even made it into one living room. And even since then, the Xbox 360 platform has seen more games launched.

And that's before we even mention the differences between Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network (PSN). Comparing the two services is like comparing a fine wine to a bottle of Lambrini. For multiplayer gaming then, the 360 has it.

But the PSN on the PS3 is catching up, with big updates expected very soon.

The PlayStation 3 does, of course, have plenty of gaming exclusives of its own. Series' such as Metal Gear Solid will only ever be available on PlayStation consoles, and then the much-mooted Gran Turismo 5 will be launched on PS3 this Christmas.

Back compatibility

You also need to remember that other than the original 60GB model, no PS3 is compatible with PS2 games. So beware if you're thinking of ditching your PS2 and upgrading - you'll need to hang on to your old console if you still want to play all your existing games.

So if gaming is your main consideration when buying a console – and it seems likely that it is – your best bet is just to look at the games available for each platform and make a decision from there. Who knows, maybe you'll realise that what you've wanted all along is actually a Nintendo Wii?